Winter Travel Dates

I’m singing the song “I’ll be home for Christmas” over and over in my head as I write this because I’m so excited it’s actually accurate for me this year! It’s been a couple years since I’ve got to spend the holidays with my family (and even longer since all of my siblings have been together for Christmas) so we’ll be traveling to Upper Michigan December 15th-26th.

I only have 3/5 available dates still open for photo shoots while I’m in the Houghton, MI area so if you’re ready for new portraits, head over to the contact page right now to get the conversation started! Whether you want to update your business/branding photos, lifestyle family photos, need engagement/anniversary photos, or just want personal portraits - I’d love to plan a fun winter photoshoot with you! Heaven knows we’ve got enough snow in the U.P. to build some snowmen outside and then come in for hot cocoa and snuggles. If this sounds like fun, let’s talk!

These dates won’t last long and I’d love to get you in before Christmas Eve so we can both spend the holidays celebrating with our families! Click HERE to send me a message!

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NM Family | Door County WI

Almost every summer I travel back to MI and WI for wedding and portrait sessions. While in the Door County area with my dear friend (and talented photographer) Andrea, I got to capture a few bits of a summer day with her family.

She brought me to a local beach where the Lake MI waters stole my heart immediately. We didn't plan much and let the day flow as it flowed, capturing mommy & me photos until dad got off of work. Hurley was a little unsure of the beach at first, but as soon as his mama started playing the ukulele, his little beach bum wanted in on everything!

Try and not fall in love with Andrea's beautiful smile and Hurley's most adorable chunky cheeks! Or don't resist it. 
I couldn't.

I also shot some of their portraits on a roll of 35mm film and the colors are insanely gorgeous. You'll see..

By the way, Andrea surprised me with a pregnancy announcement and her new bump is most adorable. SO MUCH EXCITEMENT!!

Brian got to join his favorite two humans after work for a few photos at sunset. Lil Hurley was a little tired, but was a total trooper after a busy beach day.

As the sun began to set, we raced down to the water for a few final photos in front of one of the most stunning sunsets I've ever seen in Sister Bay.

Subscribe to the blog to stay tuned for more from Andrea's maternity portraits!

Trish + Dane | Upper MI Destination Wedding

When Trish and Dane asked me to photograph their love story, from engagement photos in Seattle to their nuptials in Upper Michigan, I was elated! As soon as I met them together, I could see how much they genuinely enjoyed having fun and spending time with each other. The love and respect they share is completely obvious, as you'll see the tenderness and butt-grabbin' affection in their photos. I spent very little time posing these two and a whole lotta time just documenting them together. I love them because as soon as they're near each other, they pull in close and aren't PDA shy; they sure didn't need to be reminded to kiss and love up on each other and that's pretty cool to see raw love like that.

Trish and Dane traveled across the country (literally road-tripped from Seattle to Upper MI) for their intimate rustic wedding in a cabin along the Rapid River. Initially, an outdoor celebration was planned, but mother nature wasn't on board. It straight up poured for hours that morning so we kept the fun inside and managed to sneak out in short bursts for photos as the rain slowly chilled out throughout the day. 

Ready for the love story? Keep scrolling! As always, leave some love in the comments for our newlyweds! xo

Everything is always a little more fun when a dog from the neighboring park decides to come charging over for a visit. The half laugh of entertainment meets the half frightened laugh of please don't jump your muddy paws on our wedding attire. Good thing he was cute.

Vendor Shoutout:
Hair and Makeup: Attitudes Luxury Spa and Salon
Dress: David's Bridal
Tux: Jos. A Banks
Florist: Delta Floral
DJ/Officiant: Double Trouble Entertainment
Venue: Rapid River Lodge
Catering: Steinhaus
Cakes: Suzy D's Gourmet Sweets
Photography: Janelle Elaine Photography assisted by Emma Tembruell

Jenessa + Mike | Upper MI Backyard Wedding

While in MI, I had the sweet honors of photographing one of my dear cousin's weddings at my family's cabin. Jenessa traveled up from FL with her fiancee Mike (and kiddos) for a short and sweet celebration in one of her favorite places over the past 20+ years --- the Upper Penninsula of Michigan. Jenessa and I have had so many amazing memories together in the U.P. from toddlers on up and she was so excited to show Michael why it was so special to her.

If you're looking for a wedding filled with tons of decorations and details, this is not it. Jenessa and Mike chose to keep their focus on their love and marriage and that's exactly how it was. The day was hot and the sun was intense, but nobody minded. Jenessa's grandpa traveled up from FL to officiate their wedding, making the ceremony even more memorable for the happy couple. With a relaxed and calming view of the water, they exchanged vows in front of family (from all over the USA). We then headed to the nearby beach for a few more photos along beautiful Lake Superior and did our best to ignore the pesky flies. 

Congratulations you two newlyweds! Welcome to the married club!

UPPER MI Travel Dates 2018

I'm coming to the Upper Penninsula of MI in July and would love to photograph you! I have just a couple dates left for photo sessions. From personal portraits to engagements, anniversaries or an updated photo for your business - I've got you covered on the beautiful and fun photo side of things.


Head on over here to get in touch:

See you soon, Yoopers!

June Travel Dates

Those photos on your wall right now... when were they taken? 
If you're struggling to remember just how long ago it was, it's probably time to update them! 
Don't worry my upper MI friends, I'm coming your way this week!

I'll be heading to the U.P. on June 6, 2017 and added a couple extra spots in my calendar for YOU! Whether it's engagement, bridal, anniversary or lifestyle photos, I'd love to capture those for you!
Just go right here and tell me which of your photos need updating. 
See you soon friends!

Our 2nd Wedding Anniversary Trip | Orcas Island Pt. 2

The next morning, we took our time getting ready. Beau had breakfast planned, cinnamon rolls and mimosas! We ended up eating cheddar brats (something I eat like once a year normally) too because we didn't know when we'd get lunch since we were heading out on a whale tour that afternoon. 

Beau and I went for a hike to Obstruction Pass again, but it was more like a jog because we had to get all the way across the island for our tour and I was reminded how out of shape I am.

We took the Orcas Express and while we didn't see any super cool killer whales, we saw a couple of gray humpback whales named Heather and Big Mama who have supposedly been around for many years.

We had a few hours to kill after and found our way to the Island Hopping Brewery. We killed time playing the cardgame Speed and sampling good craft beers before heading over to Pizza Portofino. I'm craving their garlic butter focaccia again just thinking about it. 

The ferry ride back involved more (failed) attempts at finishing puzzles laid out on the tables, gorgeous sunset colors and an overwhelming sense of gratitude for what a beautiful life we have.

I'm so ready to photograph another couple on the islands now. Please just get me a Leanto next to you so we can hang by the fire after. Who wants in?

Our 2nd Wedding Anniversary Trip | Orcas Island Pt.1

Our second wedding anniversary was Sunday May 14th. Beau told me not to make any plans for Saturday or Sunday, to pack a bag with camping and hiking gear and to plan to be up by before 3am. That was all I knew. I love how much he loves to surprise me. He always has. I'm not great at surprises because I typically clue in to little details easily, but we've both gotten better the longer we've been together.

Saturday morning, the alarm went off at 2:30am. Beau made us coffee and hustled me out the door in all of my groggy splendor. The coffee, we agreed, was terrible because he thought he'd run the same K-cup in the Keurig twice to make one big coffee (don't waste your coffee this way my friends). We stayed awake out of excitement for the rest of drive though, the Serial podcast holding our attention. By the time we reached Anacortes, I figured out we were taking the ferry over to the San Juan Islands.

On the ferry, Beau clued me in that we were going to Orcas Island and he had a list of awesome places for us to check out when we got there. The ferry wasn't packed and we walked around, watching the sun slowly coming up and fighting buying the delicious smelling tator tots because he promised there would be a cafe on the island I would love more.

We arrived at the island around 6am and the sleepy island town was still asleep so we drove around the entire west side of the island and walked along the beach, stepping on squishy kelp and looking for crabs. Once the Brown Bear Cafe opened, we were some of the first in line to enjoy a delicious Vanilla Peach croissant, JamBon (ham) croissant and a large vanilla americano. 

We headed over to hike Obstruction Pass on a mission to find the starfish we read about. The screaming seagulls wanted to eat them so it took a little time to discover how well they were burrowed under crevices of rocks. It did not disappoint, they were beautiful and bright. We hate seagulls (yes, I've been pooped on on my head) so we made sure to hide them just as we found them to keep the birds guessing. 

During the afternoon, we checked out Constitution point and watched two baby deer prancing around. One was albino and if you look close enough in my photos there, you can see him in the distance.

Afterwards, we stopped locally for some fresh caught mussels and then sampled vino at the Orcas Island Winery. Interestingly enough, they don't grow their own grapes on the island. The climate isn't right for growing, but they love the place enough to open a winery there. I don't mind; the merlot was delicious and bold with raspberry taste!

We stayed in a Leanto and it was much cooler than I thought a glamping experience would be! I love camping, but throw in a tent big enough to stand in, a luxury bed, camping chairs, tables, umbrellas, firepit, water jug, coffee and lanterns and all the stress of packing goes out the window. Beau surprised me with a cheeseboard, my favorite snack/meal ever. We sat by the fire all night, reminiscing our favorite wedding memories.

It was very cold outside, but they provided us a hot water bottle heat pack and wool blankets so we stayed cozy in bed. After Beau killed a large spider, I slept like a baby (which is rare for the light sleeper I am). 

Enough words, more photos... Keep scrollin'

Part 2, coming right up!

7 Things I Love for Traveling

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7 of My Travel Must Haves

My random travels these past few years have taught me a few lessons (i.e. a $7 local mocha shaved-ice at the Maui flea market tastes way better than the overpriced $7 Figi water in the airport) on how to travel more and travel smarter while getting the best bang for my buck. And yes, I'm always looking for a deal because I have an enormous travel bucket list to conquer before I die. In no particular order, here are some of my favorite travel go-to's that always make it into my luggage.

1. Vapur Water Bottle. Forget the $7 water in the airport! This baby is my all-time favorite source for travels. It's extremely lightweight, rolls up to a super small size when empty, and has a clip to attach to your suitcase. I got the 1-Liter Size and filled it up in airports, artisan wells and hotels. It's completely reasonable in price, durable and easy to clean. It also holds an impressive amount of wine, not that I've tried or anything...

2. Bedtime Bliss Sleep Mask. Contoured to your face so it's not smushed against your eyes, this is the best eye mask I've tried for traveling. There's enough space that it doesn't mess up your makeup if you're taking an afternoon cat nap and don't want to redo your makeup afterwards. I've worn this mask in planes, trains and cars and it's like instant lights out - perfect for a light sleeper like myself. Excellent in helping with jetlag when you need the rest, but the rising sun is messing with your eyes. Bonus, it came in a pouch for easy and small storage and included a pair of ear plugs! Shoutout to my fellow B-School Babe Davina for killing it with this awesome design! 

3. Inflatable Neck Pillow. Okay so we all know how much it sucks trying to sleep comfortable on a plane or train, right? Neck pillows are awesome for helping with this by supporting your neck so you're not at a constant slump. Only thing is, if you're anything like me and travel with a very full suitcase, a pillow is just one more annoying thing to try packing in when you're not using it. Bam, insert the inflatable neck pillow invention! This little game changer made my day when it came in the mail in a pouch smaller than the size of my hand and easily blew up in less than 10 seconds to a velvet cushiony dream piece (don't ask where I come up with this sh*t). 

4. Okay this isn't a product, but I completely love this site for accessing the best months to travel on a budget. If you're wondering how people insist it's easy to travel on a budget, here's a couple of insider tips (disclaimer - this definitely doesn't work as well if you don't have a major airport to fly from and flexibility is key). First of all, always search your flights from a private tab. Airlines can track how many people are researching for certain flights and can raise the prices if it seems to be a popular ticket. For me, in my Google Chrome tab, I just go to file and click on "New Incognito Window". 
Next, head on over to where you can select your departure airport. From here - if you're flexible, you can usually go somewhere within your budget. On the "To" tab, select Flexible. On the Dates tab, click Whole month and then Cheapest Month. Hit Go. The most inexpensive tickets all around the world available to you will be shown. Cool, right?! Of course if you know you want to fly to Ireland, but you're flexible with dates, you can put that in the "To" and still select Flexible dates. This will show you the current cheapest months to fly to your destination. For me, it looks like I can get from Seattle to Milan for around $540 in May, which must be the cheapest month to travel there.

5. Colgate Wisp Brushes. Mini freaking toothbrushes, no toothpaste needed. I can't tell you how many times these little guys have come in handy while traveling! Waking up from a snooze over a 6 hour flight, drinking a coffee and downing those delicious Delta Biscoff cookies (I always ask for double) always leave my mouth feeling gross. A quick scrub down with these disposable brushes are a life saver.

6. Packing Cubes. If you're anything like the old me and use the method of literally throwing everything into the suitcase, zipping it shut, and opening it up at my destination to a total tornado - you're going to love packing cubes. Now I haven't tried the exact brand listed over to the side here (mine are from Ikea), but I swear these help me pack more and stay better organized. All shirts that need to be laid flat go in the big ones, small wrinkle-free items get rolled super small and zipped into the smaller sizes, while shoes get their own to keep dirt off the clothes. The mini ones are great for storing all your toiletries. It's SO much easier finding my stuff when I arrive and helps protect the nicer items in my suitcase.

7. Cleansing Wipes. Last but not least, I always carry cleansing wipes of some sort for my face. I'm not a total germaphobe, but there is something about the gross circulating air out of those airplane/train vents that makes me feel dirty. It's not uncommon for me to refresh my face after a flight or use Thieves antibacterial wipes to wipe down my tray table in flight. I sure used quite a few wipes to clean up the restroom counters and wipe down the seats I was creating my bed on when I took the 26hour train from ND to WA last spring!

There you have it! 8 of my favorite travel go-to's that come with me on just about every long distance flight or train ride. Travel more and travel smarter. Happy Explorations! XOXO

Just an FYI and to make your day easier - you can click directly on these Amazon Buy Links and purchase right from there! Being an affiliate, I may get a small gift card from them if you do - so thank you in advance for your support! Don't feel pressured though, feel free to shop around and find your own favorites. I just wanted to give you an opportunity to try my personal faves!

Travel Diaries | Maui Part 3; Bamboo Forest

Part 3 from our trip to Maui in early June involved hiking through the Bamboo forest while on the Road to Hana. It led to the Waimoku Falls in the Haleakala National Park. It was one of our last stops in the day so we knew we were fighting day light. We power walked to the impressive falls, knowing we only had a short time before we had to head back to the parking lot and took a handful of photos. Of course that was plenty enough time for my husband and brother-in-law to walk under the freezing cold water also. The landscape was enormous and beautiful, I only had my 35mm lens and it still wasn't wide enough to capture it all in one frame. My nephew read a warning about the flash floods at the ranger station before we left that had occurred there in previous years and nervously kept reminding us we needed to leave soon, just in case it would happen again. 

On the hike back, it the bamboo sticks banged against each other, creating an eerie sound in the almost dark and empty forest. Luckily I did my research and knew there weren't any wild animals I had to worry about in there, but we all ran to the cars in a single file line, laughing and slightly spooked. Then we discovered a mango tree and had to stop to pick a few fresh pieces for the ride home. It was pitch dark by the time we made it to our cars and we were exhausted. But those mangoes sure were sweet and delicious...


Travel Diaries | Maui Part 2: Taste of Sand

I think you truly luck out if you travel with a photographer. Seriously. You can put your phone down, play with your kids and let go of the fear of forgetting the moments because let me tell you why. Lifestyle photographers (who are passionate about travel if they're anything like me) won't even realize they're working. We are doing everything we love right along side of you, capturing everything going on and you get to be in the photos with your family! How great is that?

On day 4 in Maui, we hit up Kamaole Beach and photographed these cuties on their first day on the island. I'd say they had blast!